Tuesday, January 26, 2010


Winners are posted below, and I just have to say, you are in for a TREAT! I loved all three of these books, so I really hope you enjoy them.

Of course, I promised some pictures from the conference, so I'll post those first (insert evil laugh here). I also left off a really great comment Kathleen Duey made.

First, the comment. Kathleen was describing how to plot, and specifically how to handle the beginning and the ending. Besides the genius picking-up-a-puppy analogy, she spoke of plot like a roller coaster. She warned not to start with your biggest thrill at the beginning. You build, fall, careen around, and toward the end hit that highest thrill. Then coast gently to a stop. Don't jerk to a halt, and don't coast for miles. She even described this with movement and sound effects - which was AWESOME. Anyway, I'm not sure if I described it right, but it was a great analogy.

Okay, pics.

Kathleen Duey, Richard Peck, and Kadir Nelson at Books and Books:

Me and Jackie Dolamore:

Me and Kathleen Duey:

Me and Michael Grant:

I don't think those lined up the way I wanted them, but oh well. I am still getting used to blogger.


With the help of, here are the winners:

Winner of a signed copy of Kathleen Duey's SKIN HUNGER:


Winner of a signed copy of Michael Grant's GONE:

MIKE JUNG (AKA Captain Stupendous)!!!

Winner of a signed copy of Jaclyn Dolamore's MAGIC UNDER GLASS:


I will be emailing you for your addresses! Congrats to the winners!

Larissa :)

Thursday, January 21, 2010

SCBWI FL Conference Wrap Up!

Before I start, if you haven't attended a writing conference, find a way to do it. It is such an amazing experience, and you learn so much. It's worth the registration fee just to be around other serious writers and to be able to talk about writing with people who get it. If you're in FL or would like to come here :) the summer workshop is scheduled for June 4 & 5 at Disney.

Thursday night, there was a pre-conference book signing, which was when I got the books for my giveaway signed. If you haven't entered, GO ENTER!

I was going to go through day by day, but I think that will take too long. LOL. I'm just going to list the takeaway quotes (paraphrased) that stuck with me enough that I wrote them down. There is just no way to capture the spirit of a writing conference in words (haha). It's like inspiration and encouragement float in the air, and you breathe them in every moment. Anyway, here are the important notes I wrote down.

Richard Peck: I never wrote a word of fiction before I was 37 years old.

Kathleen Duey: Those amazing debut books (S. Meyer, J.K. Rowling) are a fluke. Deciding to do that is like deciding to be struck by lightning and working toward that.

Kathleen Duey: Don't ask what should happen next in your story. Ask yourself what your protagonist would do next.

Richard Peck (via Kathleen Duey): Take yourself out of your manuscript.

Kathleen Duey: Raise the climax by making more subtle what precedes it.

Kathleen Duey: Give yourself cues for your work: workspace, music, food/drink, smells, and change them if you are working on two projects to help move between projects.

Kathleen Duey: Anyone can be a great critiquer if you have them use the BCD method - mark in the ms where they are Bored, Confused, or Don't believe it.

Kathleen Duey: The only rule is there are no rules.

Kathleen Duey: You don't have to start with a bang. You have to start with a reason to turn the page.

Kathleen Duey: Talk to strangers. (when and where it is safe to do so)

Kathleen Duey: When you're having trouble with your character, sit down and type an interview. Not a set of questions, but a conversation, like you're talking to a child (your mc) you haven't met.

Kathleen Duey: When you have a great writing day, figure out why and do that again.

Kathleen Duey: Gag your inner parent.

Kathleen Duey: Don't let your characters choose between something easy and something hard (that's boring - give them a difficult choice).

Richard Peck: Humor is anger that went to finishing school.

Richard Peck: There never was a writer who was not a reader.

Jill Santapolo: Inject emotion organically with: actions, word choice and syntax, objective correlative (put emotion to an object - winter tree looks dead to someone facing hardship, etc. [explanation and example are mine]), and dialogue.

Alexandra Flinn: Write what you're on fire about.

Kathleen Duey: To write a good synopsis, don't name anyone but the MC. It's too easy to go on a tangent if you focus on anyone else.

Kathleen Duey: On where to start your story: It's like picking up a puppy. In front of the middle, but not too far.

Kathleen Duey: On revision: Before revising, sit down and recall your reason for writing the story - the spark. Write it down and post it somewhere. Revise to enhance that.

You may notice that most of those are from Kathleen Duey. Yes. She is absolutely amazing. I have never been more inspired by a person in my life. If you ever have a chance to hear her speak, DO IT. (Oh, and she's coming back to FL in June...just sayin').

So, those are the takeaways I wrote down. If I can figure out a way to coherently write down more of the experience, I will. I will also point you to some other blogs with wrap-ups, since different people may have honed in on different points. Here's one: Mindy Alyse Weiss.

I will try to post pictures this weekend, and I am expecting my turn with the ARC of Timekeeper's Moon by Joni Sensel, so look for my review of that.

Larissa :)

Monday, January 18, 2010

It's Time - My First Book Giveaway!


I just got back from the SCBWI FL Conference, and all I can say is WOW.

What an amazing experience!

I will blog all about it, including some takeaways and pictures (!!!) later this week. For now, let's get started with the GIVEAWAY!

So, I bought three books to give away:
Jaclyn Dolamore's MAGIC UNDER GLASS
Michael Grant's GONE
and Kathleen Duey's SKIN HUNGER.

They have all three been signed just for you! Yay!

Here are the rules:
1. You must comment here to be entered in the drawing (1 point).
2. Current followers (following before I post this) get two additional entries.
3. New followers get one additional entry.
4. Tweeting/facebooking/blogging this giveaway earns you 2 additional entries for each instance (please include link in your comment, and if tweeting, use @lchardesty).
5. Include your email in your comment.
6. Please add up your entries in your comment.

Contest will close Monday, January 25, and I will post the winners (one for each book) on Tuesday, January 26.

I'm so excited! These are FANTASTIC books, and I cannot even begin to tell you how amazing their authors are.

Stay tuned for the following: My SCBWI FL wrap up, and my TIMEKEEPER'S MOON review (I was chosen as the next Farwalker's Apprentice, detailed here).

Good luck, and thanks for reading!

Larissa :)

Tuesday, January 5, 2010

Prepare Ye, O My Followers

As I mentioned, I am heading to Miami for the SCBWI FL Conference next week (SQUEE! AGAIN!). In preparation for the awesomeness, I will be heading to the bookstore with my own hard-earned gift cards (one was a gift, and TWO were won in blog contests - thanks again Blee and Rhonda).

What will I buy with my shiny new gift cards, you ask?

Some wonderful things for myself, of course, but also - PRESENTS FOR YOU!!!

That's right! I am driving down and rooming with the awesome Jaclyn Dolamore, author of MAGIC UNDER GLASS, and I just found out my critique session is with Danielle Joseph, author of SHRINKING VIOLET. PLUS, there will be a special booksigning the night before the conference starts, and Michael Grant, author of GONE will be there!

So, I am going to take my shiny new gift cards, and I am going to buy an extra copy of each of these books (GONE will be paperback - it just released in PB, and it helps me afford this contest). I am going to take them with me and get them signed. Then, I am going to have a giveaway, right here on my blog. My very first giveaway.

Yes, I am awesome. Also, you're welcome.

So, what this means for you right now: I am giving all of my followers BEFORE I post the actual giveaway an extra entry (that means you, if your cute little picture is over in that box on the left). Do you have friends you think would like that extra entry? Send them over and tell them to click the follow box. If they comment here and tell me you sent them, you get an extra 2 entries (on top of the one for following). Ooh, I'm generous.

Speaking of contests and contest awesomeness, check out this one from Valerie:

You may now sing my praises in the comments. :P


Monday, January 4, 2010

Yet another awesome contest for you to enter

You can win a 5 page crit or signed copy of The Dark Divine by Bree Despain here:

Good luck! :)

Sunday, January 3, 2010

Getting Ready for a Conference

Hi Everyone!

I'm getting SUPER DUPER excited to go to the SCBWI FL conference in Miami in about a week and a half. Yay! Plus, I'm driving down and rooming with debut YA novelist Jaclyn Dolamore (MAGIC UNDER GLASS - Go buy it)! I'm so lucky!

Anyway, I am doing the usual preparations: going over my ms one more time, printing my first pages, getting my notebooks and tote bag all ready, ordering my Blueboarder pin.

Then, someone on the Blueboard posted a question that reminded me of some comics Debbie Ohi created in preparation for her first trip to the SCBWI National Summer Conference. I just reread them, and they're hilarious! I thought I would share them with you:

So, besides NOT bringing my 642,000 word epic vampire wizard fantasy, anyone have any other advice for me? (Yes, I do plan to blog about the conference, so stay tuned for that!)

Saturday, January 2, 2010

So You Think You Can Write?

Yay! Another contest! Agent Mary Kole is having another contest on her KidLit Blog!

It is for the first paragraph/500 words of your YA or MG novel. The winner will get a 15 page critique, so go enter! Yippee!

Mary's Contest